Our Northumbrian trip wasn’t only dedicated to Roman antiquities. We took time to drive over to Howick Hall, seat of Earl Grey of tea fame, where the gardens are open to the public.
The gardens and arboretum are designed such that different parts flourish at different time of year, so there’s always something different to see.
The wildflower and tulip gardens were still beautiful …
We took the guided tour, with a most expert and informative guide
The arboretum is a linear park, following a stream, and is managed to look natural
We visited at rhododendron time …
But it wasn’t all rhododendrons. These are candelabra primroses, which apparently thrive in the boggy conditions
Some trees are remarkable for their bark …
… others for their unusual leaves.
The gardens also are home to a beautiful church
You can’t visit the house itself, but much restoration is going on. This pond has been newly stocked with fish
The coat of arms of the Grey family, showing the scaling ladder at the top which is their famous mark
We had time after the garden visit to walk into nearby Craster, famous for its kippers.
The harbour, still active for fishing though much reduced from its former glory
And there’s still a smokehouse, where we bought delicious smoked fish for supper